Canadian Airport Diagrams Online

Ottawa CAMS airport diagram.

U.S. airport diagrams for all airports with instrument approaches have been available online for a while, along with all U.S. instrument procedures (SIDs, STARs, approaches, etc.); recently, official PDF versions became available which do not go fuzzy when you blow them up and print them out, like the old scanned documents did.

Now, finally, Nav Canada has made the same thing available for Canadian pilots here (click on “CAMS”). Previously, to get free Canadian airport diagrams online, you had to go to the U.S. department of defense (seriously!) at their DAFIF site, and even then, only a relatively small number of Canadian airports were represented (note, however, that the DAFIF is still the only free source for actual Canadian approach plates).

So, how do score Nav Canada for this one?

  • +10: made the diagrams available for free, even though it meant paying a government department (U.S. government publications are in the public domain; Canadian government publications are cost-recovery, so you have to pay to play)
  • -1: invented a confusing new name, CAMS (Canadian Aerodrome Maneuvering Surfaces)
  • -5: whole thing in one massive PDF file (this link will expire soon), instead of a separate PDF for each airport

Final score: +4, or “good effort; keep working to improve”. That last point is particularly annoying, not because of the long download (a majority of Canadians have broadband), but because it’s impossible to link to or bookmark individual diagrams — if I’m posting about an airport, I’d like to be able to make a link, but I cannot. This principle — that everything has to have its own, persistent URL — is called REST, and it’s the basic design that makes the web work. But now, I’m letting high-tech stuff from my other weblog spill over into this one, so I had best stop before I lose the few readers I have.

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2 Responses to Canadian Airport Diagrams Online

  1. Paul Tomblin says:

    Now if only they’d make digital data available like the FAA does.

  2. Aviatrix says:

    David, face it, all your readers are technogeek pilots.

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